From Prophetic to Pathetic: Handouts from Cesar
Q: Dozens of major religious groups and denominations are urging Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to renounce a Bush-era memo that allows faith-based charities that receive federal funding to discriminate in hiring. Should religious charities that receive federal grant money be allowed to discriminate in hiring?
If Uncle Sam decides to partner with Rev. Smith, Rabbi Goldstein or Imam Ali, then collaboration requires conformity to religious tenets on one hand and subjugation to Federal law on the other. Percolating out of this awkward and uncomfortable concoction is the offspring of a secular government and a religious institution that at end of the day, without the right to self preservation of doctrine and beliefs by both parties, will result in a faith that sacrifices doctrinal purity for the sake of financial gain.
Accordingly, we should ask whatever happened to give unto Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to God? Why are faith-based groups begging Uncle Sam for crumbs when by our very nature we epitomize faith, and consequently serve as the proponents of a simplistic message reconciling the fishes and the bread. Let me be clear. I have no problem if Uncle Sam comes to the Church and recognizes that faith-based groups execute ministry to the poor and hurting in a more constructive and holistic manner than government ever can.
After all, this is our mission. From Isaiah 61 to Luke 4 and Matthew 25, all major religious faith narratives stand spiritually and morally committed to the restoration of lives and the renewing of dreams. However, I find repugnant the very thought of a faith-based group approaching government begging for funding to accomplish a Divine mandate of charity and compassion.
Correspondingly, when accepting subsidies from Cesar, synagogues, churches, temples and mosques in essence agree to Cesar's rules. As a strong advocate of religious exclusion clauses both incorporated in proposed ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) legislation and included in previous Faith Based Initiative guidelines, I find myself more concerned than ever about this awkward convergence of public money and faith-based organizations.
At the end of the day, if Uncle Sam wants our help, then we will assist. However, do not require us to change our beliefs or surrender or theological doctrine at the altar of financial expediency. On the other hand, if ever Rev. Smith, Rabbi Goldstein or Imam Ali approach the corridors of Capitol Hill asking Cesar for financial assistance, then their corresponding faiths transition from the sanctuary of the prophetic to the arena of the pathetic.
Posted by: artistkvip1 | September 26, 2009 8:42 PM
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Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | September 24, 2009 9:53 PM
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